Book Review - The Power

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The Power - Naomi Alderman

I held off from reading this book for quite a while because I’d heard quite mixed reviews about it. But I’m currently loving feminist fiction so decided to give The Power a shot.

In simple terms, The Power is about a future where women have the power to electrocute people and subsequently seize control of society. There’s new religions, murderous gangs and the rights of men are gradually slipping away in certain countries. There’s a lot going on, but none of it is unbelievable.

I will start off by saying that the writing style can be quite hard to get used to. I don’t know why, but there was something about the way that it was written that meant I really struggled through the first 150 pages of the book. But once I got used to the author’s way of writing I was completely submerged in the story and invested in the characters. While I found all of the different narratives interesting, I found myself particularly liking Roxy’s and Tunde’s segments of the book. All of the characters have some particularly horrific things happen to them, but scenes involving these two characters were pretty unnerving. Specifically, the scene in which Roxy gets her ‘skein’ (the thing that holds her power) removed and planted into her brother was surprisingly extremely unnerving and really difficult to read. Despite Roxy’s horrible life, her narrative is really fun to read with her strong London dialect and provides a bit of a break from all of the tragedy around this novel.

So yes, this book is hard to read because of all of the events that take place in it. It’s actually rather haunting and harrowing and is a book that I’m going to be thinking about for quite some time. But isn’t that the point of books? To be thought provoking?

While trying to put my thoughts into words for this novel I took to the internet to look at some other reviews on it. Unsurprisingly, many men were calling out this book saying “if this were the other way around and men were electrocuting women, there would be an uproar” and well, of course there would. Living in a society where one of the sexes is oppressed through physical and sexual violence is an awful thought but, OH WAIT, it happens. The Power merely holds a mirror up to society and the fact that so many men have missed the point of this book proves that this is why books like The Power are needed.

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